News Archive for 06/09/27

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Sling Media launches Slingbox AV, Tuner, Pro

09/27, 5:00pm

Slingbox AV Tuner and Pro

Basic information about Sling Media's first major update to its Slingbox media streaming hub first appeared via the FCC, but today all doubt was removed as the company officially unveiled three new models. The Slingbox Pro (pictured in red) is the flagship version and is designed for complex home theaters where the user might want to stream video from any one of multiple devices to a computer or smartphone; though it requires a $50 attachment, the Pro can also output HDTV through component AV cables. The Slingbox AV (pictured in black) is a smaller, simpler device meant to connect only to a set-top box from a cable or satellite provider, while the similarly-shaped Slingbox Tuner includes only a co-axial cable jack but has the unique ability to connect to a cable modem and serve as a second Slingbox that gives its own choice of video programming. Sling Media says all three are available now, with the Pro model shipping at the same $250 price as the original and the two other versions retailing for $180 each. Click through for a photo of all three Slingboxes.

UniBrain iZak lets users make their own PVR interface

09/27, 4:25pm

UniBrain iZak

LaCie previously released its Silverscreen media hard drive as a simple way of playing a computer's stored music and video without needing a second system or a transmitter. While useful, the Silverscreen is largely a static device whose controls and format support won't change. UniBrain believes its iZak is a more flexible option. In addition to shipping with storage options ranging from 40GB to 120GB, the iZak gives owners the option of customizing the on-screen interface for playing their media: they can edit the images and fonts to reflect their tastes. UniBrain has similarly expanded video support beyond LaCie's offering to allow DivX video-on-demand rentals to work on the new hard drive just by copying a registration file. The iZak can be loaded with music (including unprotected AAC), photos, and videos from either Macs or Windows PCs and starts at $229 for a 40GB version.

Onkyo DS-A2 iPod dock simplifies AV integration

09/27, 3:30pm

Onkyo DS-A2 iPod Dock

Integrating an iPod with a home theater is difficult, since few iPod docks do more than relay their music or video to another device. Onkyo's DS-A1 dock was a helpful but only partial solution: it could communicate with other Onkyo AV equipment and gain advanced controls not present with other docks, but control of the iPod through the remote was limited to basic track navigation and the iPod's existing visual interface. An update to the dock, titled the DS-A2, was announced on Wednesday and does much to address the earlier shortcomings. Onkyo now bundles a more advanced remote that can repeat or shuffle whole albums and playlists as well as resume from the last track played before the iPod turned off. An on-screen display works in tandem with the remote to show information about the current playback mode from a distance. Onkyo has given the DS-A2 a glossy black finish (in contrast to the white DS-A1) and is shipping it today for $109.

Cobra NAV ONE 2500 reminds drivers of familiar places

09/27, 2:45pm

Cobra NAV ONE 2500

When vacationing, most travelers are encouraged to visit new destinations. At the same time, these same people are often looking for familiar services such as a favorite coffee bar or a store to buy replacement clothes. The NAV ONE 2500 from Cobra stands out among the many other basic GPS units by appealing to the need for recognizable locations. Its My Favorite Brands option lets drivers program the GPS system to indicate when restaurants or stores from as many as 600 American brands come with range. Cobra has similarly managed to include a number of GPS features that are sometimes missing from receivers in this class, such as automatic traffic re-routing and a speed warning to keep drivers within local limits. The official price for the 2500 is a reasonable $499, and Cobra is shipping them today.

Kyocera releases K352 music phone

09/27, 2:00pm

Kyocera K352

Amidst the high-profile announcements of the Motorola KRZR and Nokia's music phones, other companies are quietly releasing new models that offer a similar exotic appeal without the high price that often accompanies designer handsets. Kyocera exemplified this today by releasing its K352 candybar phone. While its stylish design sets it apart from the often plain looks of other basic phones, it also has enough features to be genuinely appreciated without becoming excessive. Dedicated music controls on the front and 256MB of internal memory make it a capable music phone, and a VGA camera is present as well. Kyocera has taken the uncommon approach of releasing the phone first in Venezuela, which is where its surprisingly low price has been revealed: local carrier Movistar is selling the phone for the equivalent of $167 US with a plan. A US release date hasn't been set, but is likely with the phone's support for CDMA networks like Verizon's. Click through for a complete photo.

Verizon's FIOS to deliver "all" Internet video to TV

09/27, 12:40pm

FIOS Delivering All Video

The sheer bandwidth available through Verizon's FIOS fiber optic network has already let the Internet provider serve both 30-megabit Internet access and HDTV through a single cable. In speaking to DSL Prime analyst Dave Burstein, however, sources have learned that Verizon's future plans are considerably more ambitious. It intends to give access not just to movies and TV signals through its set-top IPTV boxes, but to every freely available video on the Internet, according to ZDNet. While details of how the system itself will work are largely a mystery, Burstein says that it will in part rely on a greatly improved connection speed. Using BPON (Broadband Passive Optical Networks), FIOS will be capable of 100Mbps downloads and 30Mbps uploads per user - enough to stream any Internet-based video as long as the provider can deliver it quickly enough. Verizon is approximately 12 to 18 months away from making the service a reality, writes Burstein, and even anticipates 250Mbps speeds in the next few years.

TypeMatrix EZ-Reach keyboard brings keys closer

09/27, 12:00pm

TypeMatrix EZ-Reach

Most compact keyboards save space by reducing the overall size of the keys or eliminating some of those keys altogether. Users of the TypeMatrix EZ-Reach 2030 can avoid either problem. Rather than forego the number pad or other specialized keys, the EZ-Reach keyboard simply aligns and repositions them vertically. The resulting design is slightly more than 12 inches long and 5 inches high without stripping keys typically used on desktop-sized keyboards; TypeMatrix notes that the 2030 is small enough to sit over most laptop keyboards without obscuring their trackpads. Different modules can also be used to change the role of the keyboard, such as expanding the number pad. It connects to the PS/2 port on most computers and ships in either QWERTY or DVORAK layouts starting at $110.

MediaREADY AERO flash music player

09/27, 11:20am

MediaREADY AERO

Few would immediately recognize the MediaREADY name, but many will recall the company's GLIDER and the clear influence of the original iPod nano on its layout. Not content with these comparisons, MediaREADY has announced that it will capitalize on its earlier success with its new AERO flash player. Its capabilities are good, albeit common: MP3, WMA, and WAV files are supported, as are FM radio and recording. The most unique feature of the AERO is the choice of batteries. While a lithium-ion battery is built-in, the player can also use an AAA battery if necessary. The AERO is shipping now in several capacity levels, ranging from a $29 128MB basic model to a $125 2GB version.

Samsung T719 for T-Mobile with BlackBerry support

09/27, 10:40am

T719 for T-Mobile

Word had been received in advance that Samsung would produce a BlackBerry phone for the US division of T-Mobile, but today both the phone and its service have been made official. The T719 is one of the few phones made outside of Research In Motion to give access to BlackBerry networks' "push" e-mail, and is the only one which uses a compact flip-phone shape. Samsung has also used RIM's narrow SureType keypad to avoid the extra girth characteristic of higher-end BlackBerry models. As might be expected from a BlackBerry device with a more phone-like style, the T719 is less business-like and includes a 1.3-megapixel camera for photos and videos. T-Mobile says that the T719 is now available from its website for $200 after discounts.

Sony aims at MacBook with 13.3-inch VAIO C series

09/27, 10:00am

Sony VAIO C Series

Sony was one of the first companies to release a 13.3-inch widescreen laptop, but the company's VAIO S has always been targeted at professionals - not the home users and students that Apple targets with its similarly-sized MacBook. Today, Sony announced a new series of laptops that compete more directly with the features and style of Apple's systems. The VAIO C series, much like the MacBook and Sony's larger VAIO N, emphasizes individualism: models will be available in solid black and white as well as green, pink, and a hybrid orange/gray. Exact features weren't made public in the announcement, but Sony says that a Core 2 Duo processor, a DVD rewriter, and slots for both ExpressCard and Memory Stick formats will be standard. More importantly, the price of the new systems will be within range of the MacBook and similar computers: Sony will sell base models for $1350 when the C series begins shipping in late October. A photo of the new system in pink is available after the jump.

Nokia adds three mid-range music phones

09/27, 9:20am

Nokia XpressMusic Phones

Following yesterday's news of updated N-series phones, Nokia today announced three new cellphones that carry the company's newfound emphasis on music into more affordable territory. The 5300 XpressMusic (pictured) is a minimalist slider design with basic music controls along the display edge; because main action buttons are also on the same surface, an owner can pause or skip music even while browsing the web or sending text messages. The 5300 also adds support for up to a 2GB microSD card to store songs and has a 1.3 megapixel camera to round out its media functions. Nokia plans to release the 5300 for 250 Euros ($317) without a contract during its initial launch, with other areas to follow later. An American release is likely thanks to quad-band GSM network support.

Also announced were two sibling phones that share the same music-oriented philosophy. The 5200 is similar to the 5300 but uses only a VGA camera and a tri-band GSM radio, while the 3250 XpressMusic is an enhanced version of an earlier Nokia model with a unique rotating control section that swaps between music and phone controls. The new version doubles the memory support to 2GB and matches the style of the new 5000-series handsets. The 5200 and 3250 XpressMusic are set to debut in Europe for 200 and 400 Euros ($254 and $507) respectively. click through for full-size photos of the 5300 and 3250.

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